Chat with us, powered by LiveChatAnd now for the getaway plan!

And now for the getaway plan!

So you want to buy a holiday house but aren't sure where to look? Domain asked some real estate experts for their recommendations.

COASTAL: Proximity to Melbourne should be a key consideration when buying a holiday house. Another real estate agent said a holiday house should be no more than two hours' drive from Melbourne. He cites Inverloch - ''one of those beautiful little places that still retains that village atmosphere because it hasn't been over-commercialised'' - as an area that fits the bill well.

''There are still opportunities under $500,000,'' he notes. Jan Juc, adjoining Torquay on the west coast, is another good place to buy, the agent said, who notes that it also offers a village atmosphere and easy accessibility to Melbourne via the Geelong bypass - but for someone who really wants to get away from it all and isn't worried so much about travelling times, he suggests Metung on the state's east coast - a ''sleepy fishing village'' where you can still buy homes from under $300,000.

Tim Lawless, national research director at RP Data, says a decent weekender should not be more than three hours from your main home. East Gippsland communities, such as Golden Beach, Paradise Beach, Seaspray and the Honeysuckles, all offer good value with median prices still below $200,000 (and prices at Golden Beach and Paradise Beach having fallen 20 per cent over the past five years), he says, as well as close proximity to the major centre of Sale.

Mr Lawless says those with bigger budgets may want to look at the Mornington Peninsula or the Surf Coast and he nominates Torquay - where RP Data figures put the median house price at $547,500 - as arguably providing the best value for money.

Other experts, noting in particular the difference the Geelong bypass has made in terms of travelling times, would head further west. Janet Spencer, managing director of Buyer Solutions, opts for Anglesea. While prices may be higher than some other coastal localities, she says, capital growth will be undergirded by the presence of the Alcoa Power Station close to the town.

Meanwhile, Chris Teakle, director of Prime Estate Buyers Agents, suggests Apollo Bay, saying he would also look for a town that was underpinned by more than simply tourism. ''You've got a harbour there, you've got more of an established community which isn't just reliant on tourism,'' he says.

RURAL: As with coastal property, a Rural Real Estate Agent, says proximity to Melbourne is important when buying a rural property.

Kyneton and the nearby towns of Woodend and Trentham, all of which are just over an hour's drive north of the city, are good places to purchase in, he says.

''If you're in Kyneton, you can leave your office on Friday night and drive to your weekender and you can be there in an hour or an hour and a bit,'' he says.

As well as heritage buildings, restaurants and coffee shops, the area offers close proximity to natural features such as Lake Eppalock to the north. He describes prices in the area as ''realistic''. Valuer-General figures put Kyneton's median house price in the March quarter at $363,500, Woodend's at $540,000 and Trentham's at $288,500.

Paul Nugent, a director at Wakelin Property Advisory, agrees that proximity to Melbourne is essential - his recommendation is to buy no more than 1½ hours' drive from the city. ''I think that's what people find … very palatable,'' he says.

He also sees areas such as Trentham and Woodend as good places to buy and also suggests Daylesford, a little further to the west, as another. ''You've got direct access up the Calder and you've got proximity to Ballarat as a major regional hub and also across to Bendigo,'' he says. ''So anywhere in that central Goldfields area would make a fair degree of sense.''

Mr Nugent also suggests looking in coastal hinterland areas close to metropolitan Melbourne. These include pricier areas such as Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula, where the median price in March was $728,000, according to Valuer-General's data (albeit with fewer than 10 sales), or more affordable places such as Forrest in the Otways, just north of Lorne.

Another agent singled out small communities such as Buninyong, Creswick and Invermay as good buying grounds. Saying they all lie within 15 kilometres of the major centre of Ballarat, but away from the crowds of popular weekender destinations such as Daylesford.

‘’I think there’s some really good value out there at the moment,’’ he says.

‘’And there’s some beautiful period properties and weekenders. What you can pick up between $280,000 and $400,000 these days is substantial with nothing really to do.’’

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